2019 Christmas Message from Bishop Jeffrey Clements

Bishop Jeff Clements and the staff of the Northern Illinois Synod wish you and yours a very merry Christmas. Watch and listen as Bishop tells a story of Christmas love.

Merry Christmas from Bishop Jeff Clements and the staff of the Northern Illinois Synod.

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Video transcript:

Hello, I’m Bishop Jeff Clements of the Northern Illinois Synod.

I suppose your house is a lot like ours when you decorate, everything has a story to go with it. This tree certainly has a story.

A few years ago, I drove my mother to Detroit, Michigan to see her brother and sister-in-law, my uncle and aunt. And on the way home, we stopped in Jackson, Michigan for lunch.

We stopped at a Cracker Barrel and she saw this tree in their gift shop, the Country Store. And she thought that it was just so cute. But she didn’t buy it.

It was not until about 25 miles after we left Jackson that she said, “You know, I really should have bought that Christmas tree. It would be so cute because I’ve got a whole collection of trees.”

And I said, “Well, I suppose we could stop at another Cracker Barrel and see if they have the tree.”

She said, “That’d be really good.”

So we stopped at the next Cracker Barrel and they didn’t have it. They had some matching items, but it wasn’t the tree that she loved so much. So, we decided we would go on, and we stopped at a Cracker Barrel in Indiana. They too did not have the tree.

And by then my mother was just really anxious to have it for her home. So I knew there was one more Cracker Barrel between where we were in Indiana and home, and that would have been in Naperville. I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t remember where it was, so I pressed the button for OnStar and they gave me directions to the closest Cracker Barrel.

So we went there and lo and behold, they had this bell tree there at their store. And my mom took a look at it, and she said, “Oh, I don’t know if I really need it.”

So, I said, “Mom, you’re gonna buy that tree!”

And so she did, and she was happy with it. And now that my mom’s gone, guess who has this tree?

And I can’t bear to part with it because it’s kinda the story of love – my love for her because who else would have taken her to nine – well four different – places to buy it.

Well, Christmas is the story of love, isn’t it? God loved us so much that he gave us Jesus. And my mother’s love for me or my love for her or any of my family members, it just doesn’t compare to that love that God has for us. It’s just an amazing thing.

So this Christmas what I do hope is that you will remember how much God loves each and every one of you. It’s a wonderful story and please share that love all around this Christmas.

So, until next time, I’m walking with you and I wish you a very merry Christmas.